Aircraft recovery Lancaster ED 603 near Breezanddijk

In September, Leemans Aircraft Recovery will begin the salvage of the Lancaster ED 603, a bomber wreck located several kilometres off the coast of Breezanddijk in the IJsselmeer. For updates and information about the salvage operation, visit this page.

The Lancaster was shot down by a German night fighter on the night of 12 June 1943, killing all seven crew members. Four of the young men washed up on the shore of the IJsselmeer several weeks after the crash. They were laid to rest in the cemeteries in Workum, Stavoren and Hindeloopen.


Leemans Special Works: Your base for a safe and healthy soil.


Leemans Special Works: Your professional partner for locating and securing explosives.


Do your exploration activities start? Ask Leemans Special Works to perform a historical research first.

Aircraft recovery

Specializes in recovering aircraft wrecks.


Leemans Special Works, innovatively deployable on projects in which multiple disciplines in sensitive areas are applicable.

Leemans knows what happens below the surface

In the past, many events occurred that led to radical changes in our environment. We accurately identify these events apply them to maps. Leemans Special Works manages everything that happens under the water- and soil surface.

Analyze and adjust

Our specialists are mapping all land-related movements from the past and present in (GIS). After that the wishes of the client are faithfully carried out by our specialists.

On this site, at a glance, we show you our various disciplines.

Five times we make the difference:

  • Specialized professionals with extensive practical experience.
  • More than 35 years in identifying and securing explosives.
  • Specialized historical research into specific areas.
  • Constant innovation and development.
  • Employable at any time of the day and of the week.

Locating and securing explosives

The Dutch soil contains a large number of unexploded explosives. This explosive legacy of the Second World War is a threat to both humans and wildlife.

Historical research

A thorough historical investigation will be conducted to determine whether an area is under suspicion for the presence of explosives. When performed according to the WCS OCE this gives the proper guidelines on how to deal with the movable ground work within the project area. Leemans Special Works offers two crucial business: expert experience and the equipment to detect and secure explosives independently or in collaboration with one of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Services.

Detection and approach

After selecting a appropriate detection method for the project area, and after performing the detection, a list of suspicious objects within the project area is obtained. The methods used are depending on local circumstances. Depending on the project will be determined whether and which how objects should be approached to determine if the objects are explosives.


Our experience shows that explosives are often located at different depths in the soil. Using measurements, soil testing and detection, we identify the location.

Professional Safeguarding

Is it indeed an explosive? Leemans Special Works then secures it safe by storage in a special ammunition storage unit which Leemans Special Works has developed in collaboration with TNO.

Responsible destruction

After storage, the EOD will disarm the stored explosive. It is obvious that the detection, identification and securing explosives must be carried with great care.

Archaeology: historical research

The legislator is relentless: building activities must take place in clean soil. Not only environmentally, but also free of unexpected archaeological finds. Soil and water analysis of Leemans Special Works makes, at an early stage, an inventory of eventual ‘prospects’ which could cause any impact on development and construction work. Leemans Special Works is your experienced partner for archaeological research. This research is carried out in combination with a OCE-certified historical research.

Author of normative manual SIKB

Meanwhile Leemans Special Works has gained a lot of proven experience regarding our specialized work in conjunction with archeology, OCE and Environment. For example, at the site of Fort Knotsenburg, Nijmegen and the ammunition depot in Apeldoorn. Based on that experience we wrote the manual for the SIKB how to handle responsible and safe with the combination of archeology and explosives detection. This normative manual describes how this works in practice to be applied in the above disciplines.

Desk Research

Leemans Special Works is your experienced partner for an archaeological desk investigation.

Program of Demands

The results will provide input for a plan of demands as a starting point for implementation. We can let coincide this with the above-mentioned disciplines.


On the basis of trial trenches or drilled holes our specialists define if archaeological traces are found, based on desk research.

Leading in Aircraft recovery

Leemans Special Works specializes in both recovery aircraft wrecks as locating and securing explosives. Besides all this material work, Leemans gives at this delicate work the highest priority to the recovery and to bring back missing crew members. A matter of honor for our specialists and of great importance to the relatives, even after all these decades.

During World War II, thousands of planes crashed in the Netherlands. These aircraft were equipped with various weapons and bombs. In many cases these are still present on the crash site. Unfortunately, this includes remains of the crew. Obviously the ammunition is highly explosive. Also fuel and other fluids from the crashed plane still contaminating soil and groundwater.

The Dutch specialist

Leemans specializes in securing the explosives, and especially the possible remains of missing crew members. In both cases we give the highest possible attention. We do this in collaboration with the Dutch military at a high quality level, and especially high safety level. Leemans has already recovered more than thirty-five aircraft wrecks. Obviously Leemans gives the highest priority to bring back missing crew members that we may find in or around the plane wreckage.

The Stentor (Dutch newspaper) shows a funeral ceremony in a movie. During this ceremony, four British crew from the Halifax DT795 were buried. Leemans was not involved in this project but salvaging missing crew is something we do often and consider important.

Click the link below to read the publication in the Staatscourant on aircraft storage:

Flower ceremony at the recovery site near Breezanddijk 2023.

Ceremony R5682 Warten

Environment: interdisciplinary deployed in sensitive areas

As the legislature demands with regulations for environmental and natural conservation, building and repairing areas in the Netherlands must take place on clean soil. Clean soil and clean water literally form the basis of our flora and fauna. Environmentally soil survey is therefore a prominent sport for Leemans Special Works.

Clients ask Leemans Special Works increasingly on projects in which multiple disciplines are combined within sensitive areas. Think of projects in wetlands and Natura 2000 areas. The latter is a large European network of protected natural areas with the aim of protecting biodiversity in the European Union.

Clear and manageable

Based on the Special Works by Leemans orchestrated combinations of implementation, for example, archeology, ecology and the environment, the project remains clear to the parties involved, but above all manageable. Unexpectedly encountered contamination during the implementation will directly be put into custom work. Of course always in consultation with the client.


Leemans Speciaalwerken has long been an expert in earthworks. Projects involving earth displacement must conform to the Dutch Soil Quality Decree (BBK) and the Dutch Soil Protection Act (WBB) at all times. Pollution often plays a crucial part, unfortunately. Our experience enables us to accurately and insightfully manage even the most complicated projects. Leemans Speciaalwerken is experienced in projects involving nature areas, railway, road network, airports, water infrastructure, and remediation areas.
We actively contribute to finding a solution and can operate flexibly using our own equipment. We can take on both the management and the full execution of a project.

Water works in ecological risky areas

Leemans Special Works performs various water works with the self-propelling workship Bisam. This has both detection and the equipment to approach on board. Meant to be if an unexpectedly object is encountered, while performing maintenance work on water, such as an explosive, immediately can be safeguarded. Therefore the water project in question, our rivers or the Wadden Sea, experience minimal discomfort and is safe to continue. We work closely with the administrators of these waters, often the regional water authorities and Rijkswaterstaat.

Ecology: targeted risk reduction

Leemans employs a special team for maintenance under various conditions within ecological risky areas. Such as Natura 2000 and areas close to and within the flood protection program for the management of the dikes in the Netherlands. Together with the client and an ecologist Leemans represents an ecological management plan for the area in question. This management Leemans developed based on the needs of clients such as Staatsbosbeheer and Natuurmonumenten.

Inventorying with infrastructure

Many Dutch areas where ground works are taking place, will have to deal with the above-mentioned, by Leemans dominated, disciplines. In order to carry out the projects, with as little as possible hindrance from this work, we often choose this in combination. At the request of clients we expose the underground infrastructure such as cables and wires, after detection with GRP or other detection systems, as much as possible without excavation damage. We realize this by using our computer-controlled excavators.

Qualifications: practice locked on paper

Cooperation with governments

Insurance: covered in detail


Leemans Special Works is fully certified for all its listed disciplines from ISO 9001 certification to both versions of the VCA ** – certificate. Leemans is also certified in accordance with BRL 7001 + 7003, BT Rail infrastructure and BRL 7510.

Through years of experience and her professional equipment is Leemans Special Works able to provide governments, at home and abroad, of a rapid intervention in risky projects and emergencies.

Leemans Special Works has on an ongoing special liability insurance to carry out exploration activities. There are also several ongoing insurances against detonation damages, as well as personal accident insurances.